Willa Rose Brooks

Willa Rose Brooks

Career Interests

Marine resource management and policy, marine spatial planning, fisheries management, exotic species ecology, GIS.
Employment Sought:


Master of Environmental Management, May 2019
Nicholas School of the Environment
Duke University, Durham, NC
Coastal Environmental Management Certificate
Assistantship: Assisting in the identification of keystone actors in shipping sector of the Blue Economy. Research advised by Dr. J. Virdin, director of the Ocean and Coastal Policy Program in Nicholas Institute. Sept. 2017 to present.
Bachelor of Science, May 2014
Emory University, Atlanta, GA
Major in Environmental Science; Minor in Mathematics 
Major GPA: 3.64 Cumulative GPA: 3.32
Assistantship: Team member and project lead of fisheries management data project; team member on three person team evaluating wreckfish ITQ program; advised by Dr. T. Yandle. Aug. 2013 to May 2014.
Field Course: Identifying factors contributing to transmission of black band disease (BBD) through case study on great star coral (Montastraea cavernosa) in San Salvador, The Bahamas. Jan. 2014

Professional Experience

Research Intern, Ichthyology Unit, North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, Raleigh, NC
Coauthored manuscript outlining methods to identify signal and noise in phylogenetic datasets; coauthor on manuscript, in progress, looking at species delimitation and biogeographic analysis of Caribbean blennies. Received Lerner Gray Marine Research grant, supporting efforts to scan and segment lionfish brains in native and invasive range to compare sub-regional areas of the brain connected to known behaviors. Aug. 2015 to present
Field Specialist, Love The Oceans (LTO), Guinjata Bay, Mozambique 
Supported university volunteers in collection of robust field data, accurate species ID, and consistent data logging. Essential part of team aimed at advancing NGO’s goal to implement Marine Protected Area in local bay. Integral part of daily program planning. May 2017 to Aug. 2017
Observer, Reef Fish and Shrimp Fishery, IAP solutions, deployments spanning Gulf of Mexico, and US East Coast
Government contractor, collecting data aboard commercial shrimp trawlers and reef fish vessels on catch abundance and biodiversity, as well as on gear interactions with marine mammals and sea turtles. Longest deployment 32 days. June 2016 to Apr. 2017
Observer, Pelagic Fishery, Riverside Technology, deployments spanning Gulf of Mexico, and US East Coast
Government contractor, collecting data aboard commercial pelagic longline vessels on abundance and biodiversity of catch; specific focus on health of Bluefin tuna stock. Sea turtle and marine mammal interactions monitored. Nov. 2015 to June 2016
Academic Program Assistant, Duke Talent Identification Program, Beaufort, NC
Provided site wide logistical assistance, maintaining schedules, contact lists, and academic inventory, for 5 sections of marine science courses, supporting 70+ students, ages 13-16. June 2014 and June 2015
Sustainable Fisheries Intern, Cape Eleuthera Institute, Eleuthera, The Bahamas
Conducted reef fish biodiversity surveys on 16 patch reefs, with and without seasonal lionfish removal efforts, to understand impact of invasive species. Lead educational programs on queen conch and lionfish with visiting school groups and locals. Presented findings from queen conch behavioral study at CEI Research Symposium. Aug. 2014 to Dec. 2014
Instructional Counselor, Duke University Talent Identification Program, Sarasota, FL
Led review sessions and provided field support to 20 gifted students, ages 14-16, on topics in aquaculture, aquaponics, and the influence of climate change on coastal management policy decisions. July 2014
Education Intern, Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium, Sarasota, FL
Taught hands-on science and led field sampling excursions to groups of summer campers, ages 5-16. May 2013 to Aug. 2013

Additional Information

Certifications: American Red Cross Lifeguarding/First Aid/CPR/AED, Florida boating safety Software: Microsoft Suite, Adobe Suite, ArcGIS Pro, itk-SNAP, JMP, R Studio Diving: PADI Advanced Open Water and Rescue Diver certified, 80+ dives, 30+ research dives
“Queen Conch: A look into the disappearance of an important Bahamian Fishery” 2014 CEI Fall Research Symposium. December 11, 2014.
2016. Lerner Gray Memorial Fund Grant recipient ($1000) Publications: 2017. A. Dornburg, J.P. Townsend, W. Brooks, E. Spriggs, R.I. Eytan, J.A. Moore, P.C. Wainwright, A.R. Lemmon, E. Moriarty Lemmon, T.J. Near. New insights on the sister lineage of percomorph fishes with an anchored hybrid enrichment dataset. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 110: 27-38
Volunteer Work: Crustaceans Unit Volunteer • North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences (NCMNS) • Jan 2015 – Sept 2015 Sea Turtle Patrol Volunteer • Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium • June 2013 – Aug 2013

My primary interests lie in the intersection of marine conservation and fisheries management. My research interests integrate across biological disciplines that span behavior, exotic species ecology, phylogenetics, and biogeography. Since research cannot translate into effective management or conservation strategies in isolation, I aim to further incorporate the connectivity between research, policy, and education to develop new perspectives on contemporary issues in marine conservation. To date I have contributed to fisheries research in three countries (the Bahamas, Mozambique, and the United States) and I have logged over 100 sea days on commercial fishing vessels throughout the East Coast and Gulf of Mexico as a fishery observer for the government.


cost-benefit analysis
fisheries science and policy
project management
stakeholder engagement

Graduation Date

May 2019

Additional Resources



Preferred Location


Preferred Sector

Academic Institution
Entrepreneur / Start-up
Federal Government
Non-profit / NGO
Research Institute / Think Tank
State / Local Government